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Peak sun hours are an important part of the equation that will determine how much power your solar panels will generate for you.
The amount of energy generated by your solar panels can be thought of in terms of a bell curve - a graphical depiction of, in this case, energy produced. The peak of this bell curve is at the height of your solar panel's energy production on a given day. And, the daily height of solar energy production will be during peak sun hours in your geographical location. In very basic simulated terms, it looks something like this:
Peak sun hours will typically be late morning to early afternoon, but certainly vary by location. The closer you are to the equator, the flatter your curve will be as you will see extended periods of peak sun.
It’s easy to discover an average of how many peak sun hours you can expect in your area. The interactive photovoltaic map provided by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has the answer. Be sure to click on the tab for “legend”. Mouse over any location in the US to discover the monthly average solar photovoltaic value, which will display as the value kWh/m2/day (that’s kilowatt hours per day per meter squared). The color-coded legend is the number of peak sun hours you may expect, on average, in your area.
Why does this matter? Your solar panels will perform at their absolute best during peak sun hours, and generate only ancillary power at other times of the day - outside the bell curve.
To estimate how much solar power you may need for your application, visit our RV Solar Power RoundUp calculator and scroll to the bottom for some basic math calculations.
The Solar Side News
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